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The Reluctant Journey of David Connors
by Don Locke

Reviewed by Heather R. Hunt

"...has all the elements of a great holiday tale."

Just in time for Christmas comes "Tonight Show" writer Don Locke's debut novel The Reluctant Journey of David Connors. Following in the steps of traditional holiday favorites "It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Carol," David Connors' journey begins the week before Christmas when he ascends to the roof of his high-rise office building and prepares to end his life. But as he teeters on the edge, an old lump of carpetbag catches his attention. When he reaches for it, they both tumble off to plummet 40 stories - into a deep, fluffy snowbank.

Connors begins to wonder whether the carpetbag has anything to do with his survival and decides to take it with him. His suspicions are first doused then aroused when he returns to his car to find a policeman writing him a ticket. But it's too close to Christmas and the policeman still doesn't have the antique gift his wife wants. Connors opens the carpetbag and pulls out an old cameo brooch - exactly what the policeman needs. Presto chango. No ticket. Connors is still unconvinced, but when he crosses paths with a troubled woman, and the bag produces exactly what she needs, the two set off on an unpredictable physical and emotional journey in which they unwittingly - and sometimes unwillingly - help each other uncover their respective skeletons in the closet.

Locke's story has all the elements of a great holiday tale, including a rumbling train with a charming scene set in the dining car (though no one breaks into song as in the famous scene from another holiday classic, "White Christmas"); an unusual town by the tracks that doesn't seem to be on any map; a young boy in search of a balsa wood glider; children in a Christmas pageant; memories of childhoods past; mysterious yet benevolent bums who end up making good (angels in disguise?); and long lost loves returning if only for a moment and only for a memory.

As Connors' pieces together the fleeting pictures of his past, readers begin to understand why he has buried one incident in particular. We sympathize with both Connors' and his mother as all the details are finally revealed. There are no bad guys here. Just well-intentioned loved ones who nevertheless cause longstanding harm. But facing the truth with a fellow traveler at the season of the year when the Truth came to earth brings healing and renewal to those on the journey and to those they love. Merry Christmas indeed! God still blesses everyone!

Heather R. HuntHeather R. Hunt is a business editor in Connecticut. For fun she reads, writes, cheers on the Red Sox, and enjoys tennis and cycling. She also co-leads a local tea party and enjoys holding government officials and media outlets accountable. Check out her blogs, The View from Stonewater and Connecticut for Sarah Palin.